|Publication number||US7885733 B1|
|Application number||US 11/695,866|
|Publication date||Feb 8, 2011|
|Filing date||Apr 3, 2007|
|Priority date||Apr 3, 2006|
|Publication number||11695866, 695866, US 7885733 B1, US 7885733B1, US-B1-7885733, US7885733 B1, US7885733B1|
|Inventors||Jeffrey Mitchell Simon|
|Original Assignee||Honeywell International Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (33), Non-Patent Citations (21), Referenced by (2), Classifications (7), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims the benefit of the filing date of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/788,638, filed Apr. 3, 2006, for “Aviation Navigational and Flight Management Systems and Methods Utilizing Radar Vectoring,” the teachings of which are incorporated herein by reference.
The present application pertains to aviation navigational and flight management systems and methods and, more particularly, to improved systems and methods for utilizing radar vectors in conjunction with navigational guidance information. Such systems and methods can be used for numerous applications including, but not limited to, real-time correction of navigational guidance based upon real-time off-course operations.
Current electronic aviation navigation systems allow an operator to prepare a desired flight plan between two locations. The flight plan data, which can be presented as a two-dimensional moving map or three-dimensional view, can be visualized on an electronic display, with an associated computer providing the visualization. As an aerial vehicle travels along the desired flight plan path, the actual location of the vehicle can be marked or indicated on the display relative to the desired flight plan. A course deviation indicator (“CDI”) can be used to indicate to an operator how far off course a vehicle is relative to a desired course, allowing the operator to adjust the actual flight of the vehicle to attempt to match the desired flight plan. As such, current navigation systems can provide aerial vehicle operators with information to maintain a flight path consistent with a predetermined desired flight plan.
During actual flight operations, however, off-course operations are often initiated by Air Traffic Control (“ATC”) or other sources to maintain safe air traffic operations due to heavy air traffic or poor weather conditions. Such operations are typically based on specified vectors indicating heading and altitude to be maintained by the aircraft. Such headings can be provided on an absolute, relative, or magnetic basis. Off-course operations are not accommodated by existing aviation navigation systems. Upon deviating from a desired flight plan due to a directed off-course radar vectoring, the navigation system constantly indicates the “erroneous” flight path of the vehicle, though such deviation is an intended operation. Accordingly, off-course vectoring is often performed manually, with vectoring directions written down on paper by aircraft pilots who are busily performing other piloting functions. Furthermore, upon completing off-course vectoring operations, the originally plotted flight path may not provide an efficient flight plan to the intended destination because the aerial vehicle's location is far from the desired path. Though a new flight path to the final destination may be replotted relative to the vehicle's current location, such recalculation can be disruptive to aerial vehicle operators during flight operations. These problems can be further compounded if multiple off-course vectoring operations occur during a particular trip.
An object of this invention is to provide improved methods and devices for aerial navigation.
A further object is to provide such methods and apparatus as are adapted for accommodating off-course vectoring operations.
A still yet further object of the invention is to provide such methods and apparatus as are adapted for use with visualization navigation aids.
The foregoing objects are among those attained by the invention which provides, in one aspect, aviation navigational and/or flight management systems and methods that accommodate real-time radar vectoring operations and/or course deviation information from a predetermined flight plan between an origin location and a desired final destination.
In related aspects, such aviation navigational and/or flight management systems can be configured to provide real-time, built-in guidance during off-course radar vectoring, and can optionally provide such guidance while maintaining actual historical flight data and associated flight plan data for reaching the desired final destination.
In further related aspects, such systems can be configured to recalculate a flight plan that provides real-time guidance to the desired final destination upon completion of radar vectoring operations, without losing historical flight data associated with the current flight.
In other related aspects, such aviation navigational systems can be practiced using a display to provide a graphical representation of the flight plan to the desired final destination, and any related radar vectoring flight operations being performed. Graphical representations include, without limitation, two-dimensional map representations (e.g., a moving map) and three-dimensional changing views, which can include an indicator showing the desired flight plan path or radar vectoring (e.g., a guidance line on a two-dimensional map or highway-in-the-sky (“HITS”) symbology in a three-dimensional representation). The graphical display can also include an indicator showing the actual location of a vehicle relative to the desired flight plan or radar vectoring. Indicators showing a desired flight course, or an actual flight course, can also be represented by a heading and altitude in text format on the graphical display. Since heading can be specified in absolute, relative, or magnetic terms, an aviation navigational system can be configured to accept the heading in any of these terms, and/or to convert the heading into a desired basis. CDI can also be provided as part of the system to aid adjustment to maintain, or return to, a desired flight path.
Still other aspects provide such systems as can be configured to permit users to obtain flight data and plans as described herein using on-board systems that are portable, and/or built into an aerial vehicle. Such systems can include a display and a processing section which are in communication. The processing section can include connections to one or more data input sources that include a position sensor (e.g., an antenna in radio communication with a GPS or LORAN), a heading sensor (e.g., a magnetic heading source such as a compass), an altitude sensor, a source of weather data, etc.
Still further aspects provide methods that are in accord with the various operations performed by the systems described herein.
These and other aspects of the invention are evident in the drawings and in the description that follows. Advantages of methods and systems according to the invention include, among others, providing an aviation navigation that can provide real-time guidance during off-course radar vectoring. The methods and systems can also provide such radar vectoring guidance and revert back to providing guidance to a predetermined destination without losing current flight information.
A more complete understanding of the invention may be attained by reference to the drawings, in which:
The processing unit 110 can be configured with an input/output section 111 to receive data from a number of input devices, such as an array 130 of sensors that operate in the conventional manner known in the art, again as adapted in accord with the teachings of the present application. Types of sensors for gathering information for use by the system 100 can include position sensor systems 131 (e.g., an antenna for communication with a GPS or LORAN); heading sensor systems 132 (e.g., magnetic heading sources such as compasses and gyroscopes); altitude sensor systems 133; and other sensing systems or other data sources 134 (e.g., weather data such as wind and temperature measurements). System 100 can also include (or be coupled to) a static storage device 114 (e.g., CD-ROM, DVD, or other type of long-term storage device) storing information such as geographic mapping information, e.g., in the conventional manner known in the art.
The processing unit 110 can also be coupled to an input device 180, such as a keyboard, touchpad, or the like, permitting the pilot or other operator to provide inputs such as destination data for creating a flight plan. The input device 180 may also include a microphone (or other audio input device) and speech recognition functionality, permitting the pilot to provide such inputs via verbal commands. In accord with the teachings hereof, that input device 180 can also be utilized to permit radar vectoring, or to provide commands to transition from off-course radar vectoring back to a flight plan to reach the originally intended destination. For example, the input device 180 can include a radar revector button 185 or switch, which can cause the system 100 to recalculate a flight plan to an intended destination after off-course radar vectoring operations have been completed, as described in more detail herein.
The processing unit 110 itself can also include other conventional components known in the art (albeit adapted in accord with the teachings hereof) such as a central processing unit 112, random access memory 113, and a processing section 115 that can be configured to carry out the various functionalities of the system 100 (and, more particularly, for example, of the processing unit 110) as described herein.
Display 120 is of the conventional type known in the art that responds to signals generated by processing unit 110 to display information to an operator—and specifically, in accord with the teachings hereof, in order to provide dynamic graphical representations of various system data, including flight paths, flight plans (as shown in
Such graphical representations as used in the illustrated embodiment can be based arranged in a variety of configurations. Some exemplary embodiments are shown in the graphical representation 200 depicted in
The two-dimensional representation 220 of
Those skilled in the art will appreciate that other types of two-dimensional mappings can also be used to provide graphical representations of flight plans and actual flight operations. For example, in contrast to the mapping 220 of
As well, the current direction of the aerial vehicle can be textually represented by the data in window 227, showing the actual heading and altitude of the vehicle. The difference between the actual direction and location of the aerial vehicle and the desired flight path, i.e., the course deviation information, can be used to provide an indication to the user of how to rectify flight operation to bring the aerial vehicle into line with the desired flight plan, or that the current flight operation is consistent with the desired flight plan.
The image 230 serves as an exemplary course deviation indicator (“CDI”) to indicate the difference between a desired flight path and the actual flight path, and thus how to correct the current path to approach the desired flight path. For the CDI 230 in
The dynamic three-dimensional view 210 presents similar data to that displayed in the two-dimensional representation 220. The view 210 depicts a landscape, three-dimensional depiction, which can have varying amounts of geographic detail (e.g., showing mountains or water bodies) depending upon the data base utilized to create the depiction. As the location of the aerial vehicle changes with time, the view 210 is altered to depict the locality of the current position of the vehicle. Like the two dimensional depiction, windows 216, 217 can contain textual vectoring data (e.g., heading and altitude data) related to a desired flight path and actual flight operation, respectively. The desired flight path in the three-dimensional view 210 can be represented by a HITS symbology, such as the tunnel 212 depicted in the view 210. The vehicle operator attempts to maintain the aerial vehicle within the tunnel 212 to keep the vehicle on the desired flight path. Other representations of the desired flight path can include using a series of shapes (e.g., boxes, circles, or other shapes) that provide guidance for the vehicle operator as to where to steer the aerial vehicle, or that provide some other graphical indicator on the three-dimensional view to indicate where the desired flight path lies. Deviations between the actual and desired flight paths can again be corrected using a CDI as described above.
Operation of the system 100, as described above, may be further understood by reference to the time-sequenced two-dimensional views depicted in
As depicted in
At a later moment, an off-course operation can be initiated by the pilot in response to an ATC request to alter a desired flight plan due to inclement weather, air traffic, or other disruptions. Upon being requested to alter course to a particular radar vector heading and altitude, such radar vectors can be explicitly entered into an aerial navigation system by using an input unit 180, as shown in
Upon completion of off-course operations, an aerial navigational and/or flight management system according to the invention can be configured to cease display of radar vectors 342, and can calculate a new course to the desired destination 343 as depicted in
Described above are systems and methods meeting the objects set forth earlier. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the embodiments presented herein are merely examples and that other embodiments, incorporating changes thereto, fall within the scope of the invention. Thus, by way of non-limiting example, it will be appreciated that the specific arrangement of the presentations of
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|U.S. Classification||701/4, 701/1, 340/979|
|International Classification||G01C21/00, G05D1/00|
|Jun 8, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: MERCURY COMPUTER SYSTEMS, INC., MASSACHUSETTS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SIMON, JEFFREY MITCHELL;REEL/FRAME:019412/0755
Effective date: 20070517
|Jul 17, 2008||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL INC., NEW JERSEY
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:MERCURY COMPUTER SYSTEMS INC.;REEL/FRAME:021255/0630
Effective date: 20080501
|Sep 19, 2014||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Feb 8, 2015||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Mar 31, 2015||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20150208